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Can I Use Pellets in My Masterbuilt Electric Smoker? 3 Tips!

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Picture this: you’re all set to make your favorite BBQ, eagerly preparing your Masterbuilt grill, only to discover you’re out of wood chips. 

In this moment of dilemma, you might look for other options and ask yourself: can I use pellets in my Masterbuilt electric smoker? After all, these fuel sources are made of similar materials.

In this article, we’ll discover whether or not you can turn to wood pellets as an alternative fuel for your electric grill. So, stick around!

Can I Use Pellets in My Masterbuilt Electric Smoker?

Although wood pellets are compatible with some smokers, generally, you can’t use them in your Masterbuilt grill—at least not the electric ones.

According to the company, electric grills should only operate on wood chips. Some models, like the MES 400, allow you to also use chunks. This depends on the smoke setting you want.

Likewise, Masterbuilt propane smokers accommodate both chips and chunks. However, when it comes to wood pellets, the company recommends using them only in pellet smokers.

Someone holding wood pellets in hands

Why Shouldn’t You Use Pellets in Electric Smokers?

Generally, it’s advisable to only use pellets in pellet grills and not electric smokers. That’s because using the wrong type of fuel can cause malfunctions.

Aside from that, you may have warranty concerns. Not to mention, the smoker’s performance may not be optimal.

Here are four reasons to avoid using pellets in electric smokers:

1. High Temperature

While both electric and pellet smokers use wood as fuel, chips and pellets aren’t interchangeable. This has to do with the grill design.

As the name suggests, electric grills heat through electricity. Typically, these devices contain a cooking chamber. Below these racks are an electric heating element, a wood chip tray, and a loader. 

Once you turn on the smoker, an electric current passes through a set of resistances, releasing heat, a process known as Joule heating. This energy transfers to the wood tray and reaches temperatures up to 275ºF, causing smoke.

Pellet smokers, on the other hand, are a different story. They contain components like an auger, a cooking chamber, intake fans, and an igniter. 

All these heating elements cause wood combustion. This process produces high temperatures, up to 500ºF. Because pellets burn slowly, they can reach high temperatures without turning to ash quickly.

Using these fuel sources in electric grills may produce temperatures higher than the grill’s range, damaging its components.

2. Blowback Problems

Aside from malfunctioning, wood pellets can cause many hazards if used in electric grills. Blowbacks are one of those risky issues.

For those wondering, blowback refers to the sharp “whoosh” sound a grill makes. This situation typically occurs when the flame builds up inside the wood chip tray due to overloading. As a result, heat is distributed unevenly, causing flames to shoot back.

Excessive smoke is also another reason that causes this hazard. Since burnt wood produces many byproducts, it can cause oxygen to enter the heating system.

As a result, a sudden burst of smoke escapes through the vents. If the pressure is powerful, the grill’s door may blow off!

3. Void warranty

As you know, Masterbuilt provides a warranty for all its products. They make sure to cover any defects in material or workmanship. This warranty runs for a year.

However, that’s only under the conditions of proper assembly and care. They don’t cover issues due to regular use, like rust or paint problems.

Since the company only recommends using pellets for pellet smokers, you risk voiding the warranty if you don’t follow this rule.

4. Performance and Flavor

Not all grills are the same. They have different operating systems and fuels. That’s why each smoker adds a distinct flavor to the food.

For instance, charcoal smokers add a unique charcoal flavor to the food. 

Electric and pellet grills offer a smoky flavor. Still, the outcome is different. The former type of smoker provides a charred taste. 

That’s because wood chips produce a lot of smoke. The grill helps distribute it evenly across the cooked meat, ensuring every bite is flavorful.

Pellet smokers also produce a wood flavor. However, it can be more robust than that of an electric grill. The secret lies in the fuel.

Since pellets burn slowly, they generate a steady smoke output. Not only does that enhance the flavor profile, but it also ensures tender meat. That’s why this type of smoker is more suited for cold smoking compared to electric ones.

Now, what happens when you use pellets in an electric smoker? The continuous flame can cause temperature fluctuations, resulting in uneven cooking.

Tips to Use Pellets in Electric Smokers

If you only have wood pellets sitting around, you might wonder: can you use them in your electric grill? After all, buying wood chips and pellets can be costly.

While we don’t recommend doing that, the truth is that the pellets won’t break your precious electric smoker.

Man pouring a bag of pellets out

Here are some tips for using this fuel in an electric smoker:

1. Don’t Go OverBoard

Generally, Masterbuilt recommends using no more than half a cup of wood chips at a time. This amount typically fills the tray. 

Wood pellets, however, are a different story. Since these pieces are compact, they are energy-efficient. You can burn pellets for hours before adding another batch. 

For that reason, only use a small amount; around five pieces would suffice.

2. Monitor the Wood Pellets

Wood pellets store a lot of energy. That’s why they ignite quickly. Whether you’re using them in an electric or pellet smoker, make sure to never leave the grill unattended. 

Feed the wood chip tray when all the pellets burn out, if necessary. Make sure to spread them out so that they smolder better.

3. Try Tin Foil

To control the smoke, try the tin foil pouch hack. Here’s what to do:

  1. Cut a piece of heavy-duty aluminum. For regular aluminum, use two layers.
  2. Fold the sheet to make a six-inch square or as suitable to the tray’s dimensions.
  3. Crease the edges to make a pouch.
  4. Add around five pellets to the foil.
  5. Seal the tin square and poke a few holes for smoke control.
  6. Place the foil pack directly on the heating source in your grill, and you’re done!

Wrapping Up

So, can I use pellets in my Masterbuilt electric smoker?

While it’s possible to use wood pellets in an electric smoker, it’s generally not a great idea. The manufacturer recommends only using this fuel type for pellet smokers.

Neglecting these guidelines can lead to many problems in your grill. These include too much heat and potential safety hazards. It can even void your warranty. Not to mention, it can mess up your food.

If you have no choice and want to use pellets, follow our tips to control the smoke. That way, you can enjoy a safe and delicious BBQ experience!